For a first time event I was pretty impressed. I think close to 200 people turned out to talk about the technology scene in Sarasota and Manatee. The content was pretty high level and focused a lot on the small business crowd. That of course makes sense considering that it is mostly small businesses in this area. I was very excited to hear about the company culture at LexJet. Their three rules ares:

1. Have Fun
2. Make Money
3. Don't get in the way of anyone else having fun or making money.

The co-founder talked a lot about the importance of having a good company culture and hiring good individuals. He also mentioned that they pay above average salaries so they can ATTRACT and RETAINT the high quality people that make them successful.

I was also really impressed with the stuff that Robert Hanson is doing with the Sarasota County IT department. They are consolidating services and servers throughout the county. They are really embracing the software as a service (SaaS) model and trying to save the tax-payers money yet still provide superior service and capabilities to the local government departments.

After the conference some of the crowd headed over to G.Wiz for the Digirati party. This was a really fun event for me. I was able to talk to a lot of interesting people and it was the first time that I personally felt successful and confident at networking. I had a great conversation with Andrew Foley, from Sarasota News & Books, about the impact of the Internet on local culture. I'll have to stop by his bookstore sometime soon to see what other interesting conversations come up.

I'd really like to thank all the people at the Young Technology Alliance, who don't have a web page just about them yet, for putting on this great event. I can't wait for next years.